I’m sure all of us can name the book or series that got us hooked on fantasy. That story undoubtedly holds a special place in your reader’s heart. It’s a story that you may even compare everything else against. When you run into another reader who likewise fell in love with fantasy through that story it creates an instant bond. When you run into someone who hates that story…well…screw them.
For me I discovered that story in 1990. I had just started 8th grade at Max Bruner Jr. Middle School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I remember seeing a guy in my algebra class carrying around this book with a burnt red cover depicting a guy with red beard and hair in what appeared to be buck skins with a bow and sword, a light skinned blonde woman dressed similarly carrying a staff, and a knight with a long mustache in ceremonial armor with sword and shield. They were standing at the base of a low hill topped by a tree, it’s leaves in the process of turning. Sneaking up behind them on the hill was a crouching red dragon. At the top of the cover was an elaborate medieval style crest with a lance running through it. Across the crest was the word DraongLance, the first book in the Chronicles series. The title of the book…Dragons of Autumn Twilight, by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman.
I was captivated by that cover. Whoever was in charge of cover design for that book and series did a fantastic job. The art by the great Larry Elmore and the red cover matching the autumn colors went perfectly with the title. Later books in the Chronicles series would do the same (blue for Dragons of Winter Night, and green for Dragons of Spring Dawning).
I admired from afar at first though. But soon I began seeing other classmates carrying this book around, reading before class or after getting their work done. I even saw one of our football/baseball players reading it which put an end to the idea only nerds and geeks might read a book like that. Still I hesitated. Finally my best friend Bob bought a copy and read it. Then he offered to let me borrow it. I took it home and started reading. I stayed up past midnight that first night and finished it within the next day or so. I was hooked; drawn into this magical world of humans, elves, dwarves, and kender battling against other humans, draconians, and yes…dragons. A world filled with magic users, clerics, and the Knights of Solamnia; a world with good and evil, and gods who interact with mortals. I picked up the next two books, read them as quick as I could and started on the Legends series. I became a fan for life. This was my gateway into fantasy.
I’ve read this story a couple times, but the last time was about 20 years ago, not long after I got married. I’ve been wanting to return to the world of Krynn, to this story of the Heroes of the Lance for a long time.
So at the beginning of the year I listed as one of my 2019 Reading And Blogging Goals that I wanted to start reading the Dragonlance series again. Initially I was thinking I’d just try to make it through the Chronicles (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning) by the end of the year. Then in March in my 2019 Reading And Blogging Goals V update I hit upon the idea of maybe doing a read-along of Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Since then I’ve brought it up on Twitter a bunch and there’s been a decent level of interest from folks because apparently many of you love this series too.
So…here’s what I guess amounts to the official announcement…
In November I’ll be hosting a Dragons of Autumn Twilight read-along!
What’s that mean you ask? Well, I still don’t have all the details worked out but here’s where I’m at with it:
The Reading Plan
I’ve been going back and forth about how to plan out the read. In order to fit it into as many people’s schedules as possible I’m going to extend it over the whole month of November. Just how to break up the book into sections is what’s been gnawing at me. At the moment I’m proposing the following schedule:
- Week 1 (11/3 – 11/9): The Old Man and Book 1 Chapters 1-10
- Week 2 (11/10 – 11/16): Book 1 Chapters 11 – 22
- Week 3 (11/17 – 11/23): Book 2 Chapters 1 – 10
- Week 4 (11/24 – 11/30): Book 2 Chapters 11 – 15 and The Wedding: The Song of Huma
I know Thanksgiving falls in the middle of that last week here in the U.S. but I think we can deal with that, and that week will have the least amount of total chapters to read.
I also want to include a discussion element for anyone who wants to participate. I mean why read together if we’re not gonna talk about it right? I’m still tossing ideas around in my mind about the best way to do this.
Idea One – Goodreads Group: One thought I have is to create a Goodreads group I could invite everyone to where we could each post our thoughts and comments together. We could just have a general discussion, or I could post some starting questions for each week that participants could answer if they don’t have ideas of their own they want to chat about. Or some combination of both. I’ve never created a Goodreads group though and don’t know anything about it really.
Idea Two – Blog Posts: My second idea was to let everyone just post their thoughts about the weekly reading to their blogs. Again people could post about anything they wanted, or I could come up with some starter questions that everyone discusses on their blog. Or as above a combination of the two. I have two concerns about this option though. The first is that posting only to our blogs pulls us away from group discussion. The second is it’s possible not everyone who participates will have a blog to post to.
Idea Three – A Combo of 1 & 2: I kind of like this option. It allows for the greatest level of participation, it encourages the group discussion, and it allows everyone to post whatever they want about their thoughts to their blog if they have one.
I’m open to other ideas if anyone has thoughts. One idea someone had was to create a Facebook group. That’s a possibility, but I’m not really on Facebook anymore so I don’t know if I’ll try that one.
Whatever we do we’ll have some designated day or days of the week for discussion (probably the weekend) after giving plenty of time to get the reading in. Depending on the number of participants we could have two groups, one for readers new to the series and one for those who are coming back to it (the latter group can talk without worrying about spoilers).
Over the next couple weeks I’ll be finalizing my plans for the reading schedule and the discussion format and platform. Check back here for updates.
If you are interested in joining the read-along please let me know in the comments below. I’ve got a short list of people who have expressed interest in the past but I have no confidence I’ve been able to keep up with everyone. So even if you’ve already told me you want to join, please tell me again. Also let me know the best place to contact you. If you want to DM me on Twitter you can do so by finding me @jasonats or email me through the contact link here on the blog.
I’m really looking forward to this and hope you’ll join me.